Joe Whitfield
Posted on 28 May 2020

Michelmores advises Soros Economic Development Fund commitment to innovative impact investment fund

Michelmores has advised the impact investment fund established by George Soros - the Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF) - on its commitment to the InsuResilience Investment Fund. The latter is a private equity impact investing fund, established with the objective to invest in companies that offer affordable insurance products for smallholders and microenterprises exposed to climate-related risks, as well as technology platforms that enable the creation and distribution of these insurance products.

SEDF is the social impact investment arm of the Open Society Foundations - one of the world’s largest private funders of organizations and initiatives that support human rights, the rule of law, democracy and accountability. Established in 1997 and now part of Open Society Economic Justice Program, the fund makes impact investments aimed at creating economic opportunities for those who face systemic discrimination or exclusion, with the purpose of supporting the Foundations’ core mission of promoting open, tolerant and democratic societies across the world.

The InsuResilience Fund is managed by BlueOrchard, a leading global private equity impact investing manager, which is majority-owned by Schroders plc. Founded in 2001, BlueOrchard has invested USD 6 billion in over 80 emerging and frontier markets across Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa.

SEDF's investment is part of the final close of the fund, which was launched in 2017 as a $43 million fund with support from the German Development Bank KFW. The final close will raise the fund’s total value to above $75 million.

Catherine Cax, SEDF’s director of investments, commented:

“The InsuResilience Investment Fund is the only entirely private sector initiative within this broader effort to expand affordable insurance to those who are most at risk from the threat of climate change … we hope to contribute to a success story that will serve as a catalyst to bring other private sector investment into this critical area. While initiated before COVID-19, this investment speaks to the moment by supporting vulnerable communities that are already disproportionally at risk.”

Joe Whitfield, who heads Michelmores' Impact Investing team, commented:

"We were delighted to have assisted SEDF with their investment in this innovative Fund, which combines private equity investments and private debt in two sub-funds.  The objective of the Fund - to contribute to the adaptation to climate change by improving access to insurance in developing countries, and thereby reduce the vulnerability of low-income households and micro, small and medium enterprises to extreme weather events – couldn't be more timely."

The Michelmores team was led by Partner Joe Whitfield, supported by Rory Swanson; William Tanguy and Jean Gaspard of Van Campen Lien advised SEDF on matters of Luxembourg law; and Allen & Overy advised the InsuResilience Investment Fund.